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Easy Homemade Pizza Dough

Easy Homemade Pizza Dough
Yield: 2 pizza crusts

Easy Homemade Pizza Dough

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

With only five ingredients, this pizza dough is super simple and makes the perfect base for any pizza you can dream up!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Pour warm water in bowl of a stand mixer or other large bowl.
  2. Add yeast and sugar to the warm water. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Add salt and flour.
  4. Mix using the dough hook attachment of a stand mixer for 4 minutes (or knead by hand for 4 minutes).
  5. Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape into 2 smooth balls.
  6. Place in 2 oiled containers and cover. Let rise for at least 1 hour (up to 4 hours on the counter).
  7. Preheat oven (with a pizza stone placed inside) to 500°F
  8. Gently scrape a well-risen dough ball onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a round, flat pizza crust, leaving the edges a bit thicker.
  9. Move round dough to a square piece of parchment paper.
  10. Add sauce and toppings of your choice.
  11. Slide the finished pizza on parchment paper onto a pizza peel (or the back of a round pizza pan) and put it in the oven, sliding it onto the pizza stone. (If you don't have a pizza stone, cook directly on the pizza pan.)
  12. Cook for 10 minutes (slightly longer if you have a lot of wet toppings).
  13. Slide out of the oven using the pizza peel or pizza pan.
  14. Slice immediately using a rolling pizza cutter and let cool for 3-4 minutes before serving.

Notes

1. You can add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to the recipe if desired. I never noticed any difference in flavor or texture when leaving it out.

2. You can shape the dough rounds in the air rather than on the countertop (this is how I do it), but it yields a less uniform result and thinner crust in the center.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

2 slices

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 208Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 267mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g

These nutrition estimates are for the crust only, not including any toppings.

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Ingredients

This is a super simple recipe with nothing fancy in the ingredient list. In fact, it’s my standard recipe for white bread, but works fantastically well for pizza dough.

Warm water

Using warm water (about 110°F, warm to the touch) provides the optimal temperature for yeast growth, giving you a quick rise.

If you want the dough to rise more slowly, feel free to use cold water for slower growth. For example, I often make up the dough at lunchtime, to be used for pizza at dinnertime. I use cold water and achieve the desired rise over several hours.

Yeast

A packet of rapid-rise yeast typically has 2 1/4 teaspoons in it. I buy yeast in bulk and store it in the freezer. Just to keep things simple, I use 2 teaspoons, but if you have packets, just use up one packet.

Sugar

White sugar provides some quick food to get the yeast started. If you’re avoiding sugar or prefer natural sugars, you can use sucanat, honey or coconut sugar. You can even leave it out altogether, and just give a little bit of extra time for the dough to rise.

Salt

I like to use a nice sea salt, but regular table salt works fine.

Flour

Unbleached, all-purpose flour is my go-to for this dough. I buy Sir Galahad flour from King Arthur Flour in 50-lb bags, but any all-purpose flour will work. Bread flour would also work well to give you a nice, sturdy result, but it’s not at all necessary.

I’ve also tried experimenting with adding some whole wheat, but it gives a less pizza-y result, in my opinion, and more importantly, in the opinion of the rest of my family.

In the case of pizza, I don’t try to up the healthy factor much. I take it as a win that we’re using simple ingredients, just a step up in quality from your local pizzeria, and a whole lot cheaper.

Making the Dough

The dough-making process is fast and slow at the same time. It takes 5 minutes to get it started, then an hour or two, before your pizza dough is ready.

Activate the yeast

To get the fastest rise in your dough, you’ll want to activate the yeast before mixing in the other ingredients. To do this, use warm water, add the yeast and sugar, give it a quick mix, and let it brew for 5-10 minutes. You’ll see the yeast foaming up and getting nice and bubbly.

To be perfectly honest, I usually skip this step. I’m usually not in a hurry to get a quick rise, as I start my dough several hours before I’m ready to make pizza. A slow rise is just fine with me.

I keep my life simpler by just chucking all the ingredients straight in the mixer and letting it whirl. If you do this, plan to give the dough at least 2-3 hours to rise for soft, fluffy dough.

Mix in salt and flour

I like to add the salt to the water, along with the yeast and sugar, before adding the flour. This gives it a chance to dissolve a bit and makes for a more even distribution.

Then add the flour directly to the stand mixer. Mix with a dough hook attachment at the lowest speed for 4 minutes. My mixer has a handy countdown timer that I can just set and leave, and it will stop when done.

If you’re doubling the amount (as I usually do – we go through at least 3 pizzas with our crew of 7), it’s a good idea to do each batch separately. The volume is just a bit too much for a typical kitchen mixer and could overwhelm the motor.

The other alternative with larger amounts is to knead by hand. If kneading by hand, you’ll want to work the dough for at least 4 minutes to develop the gluten for a sturdy yet fluffy dough.

Shape dough and let rise

This recipe is just right for two 12 to 14-inch pizzas. To do this, divide your kneaded dough into two equal portions and shape each one into a round ball. For you anxious perfectionists out there, it’s very forgiving; they don’t have to be exactly even, and they don’t have to be perfectly smooth round balls.

Place the dough portions into two separate containers to rise. Pour a little bit of olive oil on the bottom first to prevent sticking, and to help give a nicely golden crust when baked.

I like to use round plastic containers with lids. The round containers help get the dough into the right shape for your final pizza crust. Squarish containers can also be used, but you might get more squarish-shaped pizzas. Which is fine, too.

Another fun option is to divide your dough into smaller portions to make personal or mini pizzas. My kids love to get the chance to make their own pizzas. I’ve found that for the best personal-size pizza, you need to divide the total recipe batch into eight pieces. Each portion should be placed in a separate well-oiled container.

Let the dough rise for at least and hour, and up to 4 hours on the countertop. If you want to save one crust for another day, store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It’ll have a bit more of a sourdough flavor, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Roll out the pizza dough

When you’re ready to make your pizza, preheat your oven to 500°F. If you have a pizza stone (highly recommended), make sure it’s in the oven preheating.

Gently scrape the dough out of the container. Try to maintain the shape of the dough without folding it over on itself. If it gets folded over, it will be much stiffer and harder to spread out evenly.

For beginners, I recommend working your dough on a lightly floured surface. Place the round dough (from your round container) on the floured surface, and gently work to spread it out flatter, working from the middle toward the edges.

If you’re feeling a bit more confident, you can take the whole round dough in your hands in the air, and spread it into a sheet. Do this by working your hands around the outside of the round in a circular motion.

When you have your desired size and shape, transfer the round dough to a sheet of parchment paper. Purists will tell you to use coarse cornmeal, or to just slide it well-floured straight to the peel. I’ve had too many squashed, folded, dropped pizzas that way to want to be a purist. Parchment paper works every time.

Making the pizza

The perfect pizza is, of course, a matter of taste. We usually go for the classic cheese and pepperoni, but sometimes mix it up with a margarita pizza or a supreme (Italian sausage, mushrooms, peppers, olives, and onion).

For the sauce, I either use Classico pasta sauce, or our own home-canned tomato sauce. Another rendition that will give you excellent tomato flavor is to puree a can of whole canned tomatoes and add salt and Italian seasonings.

On top of the sauce (especially if you’re using homemade tomato sauce or pureed canned tomatoes), sprinkle some fresh-ground black pepper, parmesan cheese, and oregano.

Add shredded mozzarella, a nice layer to mostly cover the sauce, but not so thick that you get a rubbery texture.

Pile on your favorite toppings!

Now you need to move your pizza to the hot pizza stone inside the preheated oven. By far the best way to do this is with a pizza peel. Slide it right under the parchment paper, and slide it off the peel onto the hot pizza stone.

If you don’t have a pizza peel, you can use the round pizza pan upside down (so it doesn’t catch on the rim) to slide under the parchment paper.

If you don’t have a pizza stone, cook the pizza directly on a round pizza pan. The parchment paper would be optional in this case, but it’s still a good idea to remove any chance of the pizza sticking on the pan.

Cook for 10 minutes, or longer if you have a lot of toppings. Look for slightly browning cheese and a nice golden color on the crust. (To really up the golden, crackly crust, you can also brush some olive oil around the outer edge before baking.)

When the pizza looks done, slide it off the pizza stone with the pizza peel or your pizza pan. I slide the peel right under the parchment paper, but my husband slides the peel between the pizza and the parchment paper. Either way works. Just be sure to remove the parchment paper before slicing.

Slide the pizza onto a pan for cutting. A rolling cutter is the best way to do this. I do eight slices, but you can slice it any way you want.

I find it works best to slice straight out of the oven, then let it cool for about five minutes before serving to let the toppings set just a tad, and prevent any burnt tongues.

Notes

Leftover pizza is best reheated in the oven or in a toaster oven. I always use my toaster oven, but if you don’t have one of those, reheat in a hot oven (450°F) for about 5 minutes.

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